Blake Lemoine: Google fires engineer who said AI tech has feelings – BBC

Google has fired one of its engineers who said the company's artificial intelligence system has feelings.
Last month, Blake Lemoine went public with his theory that Google's language technology is sentient and should therefore have its "wants" respected.
Google, plus several AI experts, denied the claims and on Friday the company confirmed he had been sacked.
Mr Lemoine told the BBC he is getting legal advice, and declined to comment further.
In a statement, Google said Mr Lemoine's claims about The Language Model for Dialogue Applications (Lamda) were "wholly unfounded" and that the company worked with him for "many months" to clarify this.
"So, it's regrettable that despite lengthy engagement on this topic, Blake still chose to persistently violate clear employment and data security policies that include the need to safeguard product information," the statement said.
Lamda is a breakthrough technology that Google says can engage in free-flowing conversations. It is the company's tool for building chatbots.
Blake Lemoine started making headlines last month when he said Lamda was showing human-like consciousness. It sparked discussion among AI experts and enthusiasts about the advancement of technology that is designed to impersonate humans.
Mr Lemoine, who worked for Google's Responsible AI team, told The Washington Post that his job was to test if the technology used discriminatory or hate speech.
He found Lamda showed self-awareness and could hold conversations about religion, emotions and fears. This led Mr Lemoine to believe that behind its impressive verbal skills might also lie a sentient mind.
His findings were dismissed by Google and he was placed on paid leave for violating the company's confidentiality policy.
Mr Lemoine then published a conversation he and another person had with Lamda, to support his claims.
An interview LaMDA. Google might call this sharing proprietary property. I call it sharing a discussion that I had with one of my coworkers.
His firing was first reported by Big Technology in its newsletter.
In its statement, Google said it takes the responsible development of AI "very seriously" and published a report detailing this. It added that any employee concerns about the company's technology are reviewed "extensively", and that Lamda has been through 11 reviews.
"We wish Blake well", the statement ended.
Mr Lemoine is not the first AI engineer to go public with claims that AI technology is becoming more conscious. Also last month, another Google employee shared similar thoughts with The Economist.
This video can not be played
Robot "priests" can recite prayers, perform funerals, and even comfort those experiencing a spiritual crisis
Google engineer says AI system may have feelings
US joins Germany in sending tanks to Ukraine
Taliban to set new rules on women's aid work, UN says
Indian screenings of BBC Modi documentary blocked
Buying concert tickets can be hell. Here's how to fix it
Britain, Spain, Singapore? Gibraltar mulls its future
Why young Aussies are shunning their national holiday
Subscription-based bike hire schemes on a roll
What difference will the tanks for Ukraine make?
Could UK be drawn into a green trade war with US?
Can these rocks really power light bulbs?
A simple guide to the US classified documents saga
The simple error that 16% of us make
Gen Z's latest surprising obsession
A return to old-school Canadian glamour
© 2023 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.


Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: